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Preparing A Lawn For Spring

Preparing a lawn for spring is one of the most important jobs in the garden and keeps your lawn healthy through the summer months.

Spring is my favorite season of the year and is certainly the most important when it comes to lawn care. As the cold winter season passed, and the warmth of spring starts. The clock starts ticking for you to prepare your turf for the following seasons.

Winter is harsh on lawns, and as you welcome spring, you will notice that your lawn needs some TLC to improve the way it feels and looks. As you say goodbye to winter, you should also say goodbye to your lawn’s tired-looking appearance. You need to take the required steps to create a healthy lawn, where you and your family or friends can enjoy barbeques or drinks together throughout spring and the summer months. 

Even when you prepare your lawn adequately for winter, sometimes you cannot prevent some unfortunate damage often due to rock salt, and snow mold. This damage only really becomes evident in spring and this is the time to take action to fix these problems before they become serious.

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Preparing A Lawn For Spring

  • Speed up the snow melting process
  • Evaluate the mess
  • Inspect and service equipment
  • Clean up the lawn
  • Mow the Lawn
  • Test the soil
  • Apply lime or sulfur
  • Aerate the soil
  • Remove weeds
  • Edge the lawn
  • Overseed
  • Fertilize
  • Water the lawn
  • Trim trees and shrubs

Start preparing a lawn for spring as soon as the ground begins to unfreeze by utilizing the following steps.

Speed Up the Snow Melting Process

Begin preparing a lawn for spring by speeding up the melting of any remaining snow. Snow mold can significantly damage your lawn. Snow mold is a turf fungus that affects a healthy lawn throughout winter but is only visible in spring. The fungus leaves behind patches of dead grass on the lawn. Since snow damages the yard, you need to speed up its melting process as soon as you are sure that it will no longer fall. Speed up the process by brushing snow off your lawn where possible.  

Evaluate the Mess

During the entire winter season, you most probably did not inspect your lawn to see how it was fairing because of the cold. However, now that the cold is fading away and the warmth of spring is around, you can comfortably remain outdoors for a reasonable amount of time.

Take your time to assess the effects of winter. Look out for dead leaves, branches on your lawn, and other debris. Once you have evaluated the entire yard, make plans to take care of the mess either by yourself or with a professional’s help. If you do not assess the lawn and make plans and decide to jump into working on it immediately, you might miss some crucial areas that require attention.

Inspect and Service Equipment

Preparing a lawn for spring will be easy if your tools are in good order. You need to ensure that all your equipment is working well. Therefore, inspect your lawnmower, your irrigation system, and any other equipment you will need to care for your lawn. Replace the air filter on your mower, and take it for servicing if need be, to ensure that it is ready for work. In case your irrigation system is faulty, fix it or call an expert.

Clean Up the Lawn

Firstly, remove any debris on the lawn, including tree branches, leaves, and any other items you find lying around the yard. After removing debris, you need to rake the lawn deep enough. Rake in such a way that you also dethatch the yard. To do so, dig your rake deep enough into the ground.

Dethatch because leaving thatch on the lawn after winter will prevent the grass from receiving enough air and sunlight during spring, and consequently, it will grow unhealthy. Raking will also help remove dead patches where grass edges entangle. In simple terms, you will wake the grass through raking.

Mow The Lawn

Mowing is not only applicable when the grass grows too long; therefore, mow your lawn in preparation for spring, even if it did not grow during winter. Nonetheless, wait to cut the grass when the cold days and nights of winter pass completely.

Preferably when there are no overnight frost. Mowing the lawn after winter helps to remove brown blades of grass that emerge in winter. Trimming these blades gives room for new ones to grow and helps the turf look greener faster. Mow to the correct height depending on the type of grass. Cutting grass any shorter than the recommended size for your type of grass might strain it.

Test the Soil

You need to conduct a soil test in preparing a lawn for spring after the cold season passes. The primary purpose of a soil test is to determine the pH of the soil. A soil test is also necessary to determine if the soil has the correct combination of nutrients. You can ask your lawn care company about how you can get a soil test done. The relevant tester will take samples of soil from different parts of your turf, and after analysis, you will receive the results.

Apply Lime or Sulfur

After testing the soil, and the results indicate that the soil is too acidic, applying lime can help fight the acidity. The calcium found in lime increases the pH of acidic soil, to reduce acidity and makes it more alkaline. On the other hand, if the results reveal excess alkalinity (pH of over 7.0), you should lower the pH level. Most grasses thrive under neutral pH levels of between 6.5 to 7. To decrease the pH level, apply sulfur to your lawn.

Aerate the Soil

Too much activity on the turf and the heaviness of snow during winter can leave the soil compacted. Soil compaction is a significant issue that you need to take care of, and aeration is the solution. To know whether you need to aerate the soil in preparing a lawn for spring, look out for signs such as whether the lawn feels hard or whether it dries out fast. Aeration will help to improve the soil’s capability to absorb water and air to the roots.

Remove Weeds

In preparation for spring, use pre-emergent herbicides on your lawn to control weeds like crabgrass. Eliminate weeds fast before the temperatures become favorable for them to thrive. One tip you can benefit from is that the presence of fully blossomed forsythia indicates that you should apply crabgrass herbicides.

Edge the Lawn

Edging your turf after winter will improve the overall appearance of your lawn. Turfs become incredibly active in later spring and early summer, and without edging, your lawn will overgrow onto sidewalks during that time.

Overseed

Survey your lawn and identify the parts that require reseeding, not all lawns require reseeding after winter. You need the grass to grow thick, thus leaving no room for weeds that want to sprout. You can seed anytime, so you do not need to wait until the turf becomes green again. As long as you sow when the ground is not frozen, and adequately care for the new seeds, you are good to go.

Fertilize

In preparing a lawn for spring, you can choose to either fertilize your lawn organically or chemically. Organic fertilization includes the use of mulching mower or compost. For chemical fertilizers, consult a trusted lawn expert to receive advice on the best fertilizer to use on your grass. Do not overfeed or underfeed your lawn. Always read the instructions on fertilizers carefully. Additionally, only apply products to a yard when it unfreezes.

Water the Lawn

One of the secrets to a healthy, beautiful lawn is watering. As winter passes and the warmth of spring arrives, you will need to start watering your lawn. Change the regularity of watering as the weather changes, ensuring that you, at no point, leave your yard with too much water as that is harmful. Make sure your irrigation system releases just enough water at the right time by setting the timer.

Trim Trees and Shrubs

After taking care of the grass on your turf, move to the trees and shrubs and trim them. When trimming, you must ensure you do not cut growth, but instead, trim only dead parts. Trimming the dead parts promises optimal growth. Only trim shrubs after they bloom.

Summary

Spring is that period when lawns flourish, but without proper preparation, your lawn will not be among those that thrive. Ensure you speed up the snow melting process to reduce damage to the yard. Assess the mess the cold season dealt you and your lawn, clean up, mow, and then test the soil. If it is too acidic, apply lime and if it is too alkaline, apply sulfur.

Aerate the soil to reduce compaction, eliminate weeds using weed killers, edge your lawn for a crisp look, and seed bare patches. Fertilize your turf to provide nutrients to the grass and water it to boost growth. Follow these steps faithfully, and in no time, you and your lawn will forget the effects of winter.

Preparing a lawn for spring is one of the first big jobs we can do in the garden after the harshness of the cold weather has passed.

Resources

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/home/?cid=nrcs143_023497

https://www.blainemn.gov/451/Spring-Lawn-Landscape-Tips

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